Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

May 17, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Announces $163,600 for Farmland Protection Planning

Funding For Protection Plans Available to Counties and Towns Through Statewide Grant Program

Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that three counties and two towns will receive more than $160,000 to develop agricultural and farmland protection plans.  These plans help ensure the availability of farmland for current and future farmers and help maintain the economic viability of the State’s agricultural industry.

“As a farmer, I know that land is an irreplaceable asset that needs to be preserved in order to ensure the success of our farmers, the industry and the economy,” said Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball. “I encourage county governments to take a close look at their current farmland protection plans and revise out-of-date strategies to provide their farmers with the best resources possible to succeed.” 

Planning grants provide local and county municipalities with an economic incentive to develop agricultural and farmland protection plans.  This is the eighth round of funding for municipal grants and the fifth round of funding for county planning grants.  With the addition of these awards, New York has now helped fund agricultural and farmland protection plans in 20 counties and 79 towns.  The program is funded through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, which has nearly doubled to $300 million in this year’s 2016-17 Budget.

2016 Farmland Protection Planning Grants 

Albany County………………………………….....$50,000
Madison County……………………………...…...$33,600
Niagara County…………………………….…...…$30,000

Town of Mentz (Cayuga County)………………...$25,000
Town of Ossian (Livingston County)…………….$25,000

As part of the planning process, lands are identified to be protected based on the amount of prime soils they have, farm activity, development pressure, and possible consequences of conversion to non-farm use.  Plans also evaluate local land use codes to ensure that zoning and subdivision regulations do not unreasonably restrict agricultural activities and that opportunities for growth are incorporated into future development plans.

Funding is still available under the program for 2016. The planning grant program is open to any municipality, including cities, towns and villages, located in a county with an agricultural and farmland protection board.  These funds can provide up to $25,000 or 75 percent of the cost of developing a local protection plan.  Funding is also available to counties that have an approved agricultural and farmland protection plan that is 10 years old or older.  Those counties may receive up to $50,000 or 50 percent of the cost of updating the current plan or developing a new one. 

For information on how to apply, please visit:

Agricultural and farmland protection plans should identify the location of the farmland to be protected, the value of that land to the local economy, the value of that land as open space, and the consequences of possible conversion to non-agricultural use. The plan should also describe the programs and strategies the local government intends to use to promote and protect its continued agricultural use.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of New York’s Farmland Protection Program, which has helped preserve more than 60,000 acres of farmland across the state through permanent conservation easements.  New York State recently awarded nearly $20 million to farmland protection projects in the Hudson Valley and is currently accepting applications for an additional $26 million for the statewide farmland protection program. 

“New York has lost the equivalent of 5,000 farms to real estate development since the 1980's, said David Haight, New York State Director of American Farmland Trust. “Local farms and farmland provide jobs, grow the food we eat and make us more resilient to a changing climate.  We applaud Governor Cuomo and the Department of Agriculture and Markets for providing these grants to town and county governments to enable them to plan for the protection of irreplaceable farmland and the growth of vibrant local farm and food economies.”

2016 Press Releases